A natural progression seems to be unfolding for Abby Stauffer in the 200 IM race at the District 3 Swimming Championships.
As a freshman, she placed sixth in the event. As a sophomore she was third, and last year Stauffer took second. But taking that next step to finish at the top of the podium will a challenge.
When the district meet is held this Friday and Saturday at Cumberland Valley, Stauffer holds the No. 2 spot on the chart in Class AAA, with a time of 2:07.00, nearly three seconds behind Hershey's Vivi Tafuto (2:04.66).
"The girl ahead of her was one spot ahead of her at states last year – they finished third and fourth," Trojan coach Donnie Miller said.
Stauffer also holds the No. 4 seed in the 500 freestyle, which is a new event for her in the postseason. Among area teams, the only other top-five time is held by the James Buchanan's girls 200-medley relay team, listed as No. 5 in Class AA.
Miller said, "Last year we definitely rested Abby more for districts, and she only went a little faster at states. This year, she's in the right mind set to swim fast at districts, and then hopefully she'll be at her best for states."
Last year, Stauffer placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke, and she would have been a high seed again. But she and Miller decided that the 500 might be a better option to try.
"I've done a little more research, and I think the depth this year across the state is better in the IM and breaststroke," Miller said. "Abby doesn't have as much experience at swimming the 500, but she's already dropped eight seconds off the school record. It's an event that takes hard work and dedication because you have to swam fast for a long distance. Since she hasn't done that event as much, her potential in it may be greater."
Chambersburg's Lauren Ellis qualified in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke, and those two will swim on a pair of relays along with Karlee Metz and Ashlyn Ellis.
Shippensburg has moved up from AA to AAA this year. Last year, Maggie Morehouse placed sixth in the 500 free and eighth in the 200 free. This year in AAA, she is seeded 18th in the 200 free and 18th in the 200 IM.
James Buchanan fielded a medley relay team for the Mid Penns of Kayla Snider, Rachel Kimmel, Hailey Banks and Lily Barnhart and their best time is 1:59.08. Kimmel is also seeded 12th in the breaststroke, while JB's 200-free and 400-free relays also made the field.
Greencastle-Antrim's Megan Beam will compete in the 50 and 100 free races.
In boys AA, James Buchanan qualified swimmers in the nine of the events. John Sempowski ranks highest in individual events, 11th in the backstroke and 12th in the 200 freestyle. Rylan Jones, Garrett Starr, Noah Shank, Clay Murray and Nick Garbinski are also competing for the Rockets in individual events and on the three relays that qualified.
For the Chambersburg boys, two swimmers made it into the field – Andrew Leeper (100 free, backstroke) and Chandler Desotelle (200 and 500 free). Leeper has earned the best seed time, 13th in the backstroke with a time of 56.33.
Trojan boys coach Chad White said, "In both of his events, Andrew's times were when he was not rested at all. I think he could put up personal bests and better his seed in both events.
"We've been in a two-week taper – we've increased the intensity and increased the rest – and they're both looking great in practice. We anticipate Chandler making some big drops, too."
Waynesboro qualified two swimmers – Claire Koons in the girls AAA backstroke and Darek Benchoff in the boys 100 free.
District 3 Swimming Championships
200 medley relay — 13.Chambersburg (Lauren Ellis, Abby Stauffer, Ashlyn Ellis, Karlee Metz), 1:55.89 ; 200 freestyle — 18.Maggie Morehouse (Shippensburg) 2:00.71, 19.L.Ellis (Chbg) 2:01.17 ; 200 IM — 2.Stauffer (Chbg) 2:07.00, 18.Morehouse (Ship) 5:24.89; 500 free — 4.Stauffer (Chbg) 5:05.90 ; 100 backstroke — 21.Claire Koons (Waynesboro) 1:03.04, 23.L.Ellis (Chbg) 1:03.17; 400 free relay — 16.Chambersburg (L.Ellis, Metz, A.Ellis, Stauffer) 3:49.76.
200 freestyle — 29.Chandler Desotelle (Chbg) 1:51.46; 100 free — 23.Andrew Leeper (Chbg) 50.49, 28.Darek Benchoff (Way) 50.85; 500 free — 20.Desotelle (Chbg) 5:02.02; 100 backstroke — 13.Leeper (Chbg) 56.33.
200 medley relay — 5.James Buchanan (Kayla Snider, Rachel Kimmel, Hailee Banks, Lily Barnhart) 1:59.08; 50 free — 23.Megan Beam (Greencastle) 26.91; 200 free relay — 16.James Buchanan (Sarah Funk, Hannah Stancliff, Amanda Cole, Barnhart) 1:58.93; 100 free — 22.Beam (G-A) 1:01.16; 100 breaststroke — 12.Rachel Kimmel (JB) 1:13.93; 400 free relay — 12.James Buchanan (Snider, Banks, Cole, Amanda Montgomery) 4:16.66.
200 medley relay — 13.James Buchanan (John Sempowski, Noah Shank, Clay Murray, Garrett Starr) 3:40.60; 200 freestyle — 12.Sempowski (JB) 1:58.35; 200 IM — 23.Shank (JB) 2:20.73; 50 free — 22.Rylan Jones (JB) 24.60; 100 butterfly — 18.Nick Garbinski (JB) 59.84, 19.Murray (JB) 59.87; 200 free relay — 14.James Buchanan (Jones, Sam Collings, Shank, Garbinski) 1:38.87; 500 free — 15.Starr (JB) 5:30.22; 100 backstroke — 11.Sempowski (JB) 1:02.22, 22.Murray (JB) 1:05.78; 400 free relay — 13.James Buchanan (Murray, Jones, Starr, Sempowski) 3:40.60.
When: Friday and Saturday
Where: Cumberland Valley H.S.
Sessions: Friday – AA girls starts at noon, AA boys 2:15, AAA girls 5:00, AAA boys 7:30; Saturday – AA girls 10 a.m., AA boys 12:15, AAA girls 3:00, AAA boys 5:30
Best area seeds: Chambersburg's Abby Stauffer in AAA girls (No. 2 in 200 IM, No. 4 in 500 free), James Buchanan's 200 medley relay in AA girls (No. 5)